[News] Live at Leeds 2014 Announces Initial Line-Up 

It's that time of year again when festivals big and small begin to tease their fans with the artists that will be gracing their stages. Of course there are the huge announcements Stateside with Outkast reforming for several dates both on US soil and UK. But here at SKoA we're focussed on the ones close to home; For myself (Shey), that's Live at Leeds. A wonderful event that takes place across the city of (you guessed it,) Leeds, and draws bands from a smorgasbord of genres to venues throughout the city. Last year I had an absolute blast and the event was one of my highlights of the festival calendar. This year looks set to top it as they've announced their initial line-up which you can see above via the fancy new poster.

Making up the bill are Albert Hammond Jr, Blood Red Shoes, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Chloe Howl, Drenge, Pulled Apart By Horses, Wolf Alice, Yuck and hoards of other damn fine bands. 

Taking place in 2014 on the weekend of 2-5th of May, tickets are priced at just £25 and for the stuff you can see for that price, I'd snatch up a ticket fast. Grab them over here.


[Interview] Hidden In Plain Sight: (Re)Introducing Kenna

It wasn't until I was preparing for my interview with Kenna that I finally sat down and did the math: I have been a fan of his music for over a decade now. This summer it will be 11 years since the day I first encountered "Freetime", from his 2003 debut, New Sacred Cow. I remember the day well. I was sitting in my parents house watching MTV2 with a notepad on the coffee table. This was my ritual when my friends were out of suggestions for new bands to listen to. Every few months, I would sit for about an hour and take note of any bands that were worth possibly buying CDs for and then go out and buy them, but only after quizzing myself a few days later when I would look back at the notepad and try to remember anything about the artist. "Freetime" easily passed my silly test. Soon after picking up New Sacred Cow, I set myself on a course that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would lead me to writing the words you are reading today. After moving to NYC in 2006, I would spend random lonely Friday evenings on my laptop, checking up on any bands in my 3rd gen iPod that hadn't released new albums in awhile. This is how I ended up on the Kenna message boards, which is where I met Rocko shortly thereafter, and around 3 years later, SKOA was born.

Click to read more ...


[Listen] Manchester Orchestra - "Top Notch"

In a year that is going to see some big albums being released, there's a handful that have me acting like a giddy little kid on his birthday. So, with that in mind, it makes me extremely happy to be posting this next bit of news. Manchester Orchestra have just announced a brand new album set for April 1st, and no this is not a joke. Titled, Cope, it seems that the band have gone back to a huge sounding and raw power that they became known for on Mean Everything To Nothing. Their last release, Simple Math, delivered a well rounded, more subtle approach, yet it seems they're going for something a little bigger with the new release. In a recent interview, Andy Hull stated the new record was recorded with them trying to capture their live energy and sound. Lead track "Top Notch" seems to have done just that with punchy and hugely heavier sounding introduction with Andy's signature vocal delivery cutting through the mix like knuckle duster to the face. Upon first hearing this the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. But hey, that's me. Judge for yourselves below and get excited if you like.

You can also grab the download for the cheap price of your email address. Treat yourself.


[Listen] Breton - "S Four" 

Photo Credit: Kieran PharaohEarlier today, Breton unveiled a new song from their upcoming album, War Room Stories, due out on February 3rd. Of all of the tracks we've heard so far from the new album, "S Four" most appropriately showcases the growth that the band has seen since 2012's Other People's Problems. The band has clearly thought out which edges were the right ones to smooth out and which ones to keep jagged and sharp. Where "Got Well Soon" reminded us of the band that we've grown acquainted to was still capable of, "Envy"  and "S Four" (below) are demonstrative that you don't always have to sacrifice complexity for palatability, or vice versa. It's no small feat the way the band can weave their usual layered beats and instrumentation alongside the likes of orchestral movements and sounds as basic as knives scraping against the pavement (which finally explains that teaser clip from last year). It's executed in such a seemingly effortless fashion that it takes several careful listens to stop taking all of these details for granted. It took me until the third listen to hear the knives sample, for example. 

If you've got a hankering for more newer Breton songs, you can also grab their Force of Habit EP  that they released for their US tour (that unfortunately was rescheduled for later this year). 

Make sure you pre-order War Room Stories now, because that's what nice people do.

Breton On Tour

06/02/14 - West Rock, Cognac, France -
07/02/14 - Charada, Madrid, Spain
08/02/14 - Be Cool Club, Barcelona, Spain
09/02/14 - Le Bikini, Ramonville St Agne, France -
10/02/14 - Rockstore, Montpellier, France - 
11/02/14 - Ninkasi Kao, Lyon, France -
13/02/14 - Lanificio 159, Rome, Italy 
14/02/14 - Covo Club, Bologna, Italy 
15/02/14 - Magnolia, Milan, Italy 
17/02/14 - Komplex Klub, Zurich, Switzerland -
18/02/14 - Les Docks, Lausanne, Switzerland -
19/02/14 - La Laiterie, Strasbourg, France -
20/02/14 - MTC, Cologne, Germany -
21/02/14 - FIREWORKS! FESTIVAL 2014, Roubaix, France 
22/02/14 - La Nouvelle Vague, Saint-Malo, France
23/02/14 - Botanique, Brussels, Belguim -
24/02/14 - Übel & Gefährlich, Hamburg, Germany -
25/02/14 - BETA, Copenhagen, Denmark -
26/02/14 - Privat Club, Berlin, Germany -
28/02/14 - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands -

03/03/14 - The Louisiana, Bristol, UK -
04/03/14 - Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK -
05/03/14 - Village Underground, London, UK -
06/03/14 - La Cigale, Paris, France -
07/03/14 - Le 106, Rouen, France -
08/03/14 - L'Echonova, Saint-Avé, France -
20/03/14 - Treefort Music Fest 2014, Boise, ID, US


[Listen] James Blake - "40455" 

After announcing in December that the likes of James Blake and Steve Angello will have shows on the BBC Radio One's Residency programme this month. Last night  Blake was on the other side of the desk and on his show he debuted a new track of his titled "40455" and it is everything we've come to expect from him. Swooning, sweeping, soaring and all round staggering. I honestly don't think I'll ever get bored of his style and music. It's perfect to pass the time on a hectic Friday morning in the office. It's helping me fight off the caffeine shakes at least so why don't you all just take a break and enjoy. The weekend is nigh. 

You can re-listen to the entire show over here, on which he also dropped a remix of Beyoncé's "Drunk In Love". Alternatively, you can jump to the aforementioned tidbits by listening to a radio rip of both below. 


[Listen] St. Vincent - "Digital Witness"

What are you guys excited for in 2014? I'm excited for the return of Annie Clark and St. Vincent. Our first preview of her new self-titled album came as an early Christmas present in December and you can check it out here. This week she's offered up a funky, horn happy second track called "Digital Witness" which comes with some added little twangy guitar parts and building bass line too. The chorus then turns into a slow pulsating dance number that'll have you chicken necking 'til dawn. All in all it's got me pretty happy about what the new album will bring. See for yourselves below.

St. Vincent is out February 25th via Loma Vista.


[News] BBC Sound of 2014 Winner Announced

Each year, the BBC rounds up a list of who they think are going to be the big names in the year. They do this by asking a vast range of 170 UK tastemakers including DJs, critics and bloggers to choose just three acts they believe will leave a big mark on the year to come. Previous winners include Adele, Haim, Ellie Goulding, Little Boots and 50 Cent. This year I was kindly asked to take part, and the list put forward by myself and the other pundits was an eclectic mix of genres and artists across the board. The longlist can be seen over here, but today, the winner was announced as the 21-year-old singer, Sam Smith. He made his mark on 2013, when in May, he appeared on Naughty Boy's huge number 1 single "La La La" along with Disclosure on their track, "Latch". I've got to say I've been excited by him since I first heard his voice. It's damn unique and oh so soulful. 

He's set to release his debut album, In The Lonely Hour later in the year but for now, props to him and let's see if his year is as big as expected. You can pick up his EP Nirvana on iTunes now.

The full top five:

1.      Sam Smith

2.      Ella Eyre

3.      BANKS

4.      Sampha

5.      George Ezra

In the coming weeks, myself and Kibbe will be picking our personal top picks of who to look out for in 2014 and why we're pretty damn excited for the year ahead in music. Watch this space.


[Watch] SKATERS - "Miss Teen Massachusetts" (Official Video)

New York's SKATERS offer up another taste of what's to come from their debut album MANHATTAN with "Miss Teen Massachusetts", showing that their love doesn't only lie in NYC. Declaring his love for a lady who just doesn't want to change her mind. Gotta feel for the guy. The track is raw, and to me, reminds me of another New York band, The Strokes with it's distorted vocals and distant drums. That's just me though. The video sees the band walking around a mental institute helping out some residents. Or at least it appears that way before it goes all Shutter Island on us. SPOILER ALERT! In case you missed it on the back end of last year, check out the bands lead single "Deadbolt" here.

SKATERS’s MANHATTAN is due out February 24th in the UK/25th in North America.

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